At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when the travel industry came to a halt as the country faced unprecedented lockdowns, resort closures, and dire uncertainty, many owners and guests were forced to cancel existing reservations and postpone future travel. The Westgate Social Media Team rose to the challenge and devised creative ways to service and engage with owners and guests via social channels, so they could still feel connected to our brand. The goal was to navigate the uncertainty, continue to build awareness, and engage with guests while providing hope and reassurance that the company’s number one priority was the safety of its guests and team members.

The Social Media Team got to work and devised creative strategies that proved to be successful on multiple levels. One plan was to produce 36 backgrounds designed for Zoom meetings that featured favorite Westgate vacation destinations. The goal was to inspire hope and serve as a reminder of the vacations to come when normalcy returns.

Another strategy was to engage through contests using “inspo links” through a third-party app, that powered contests housed on our social media pages. Owners and guests were invited to share photos of their favorite travel memories while these “memories” were in turn, shared on the company’s social platforms.

The team also created interactive games to keep the social audience entertained and engaged on Instagram. Some of the most successful efforts included the widely popular, This or That Instagram polls which invited the audience to make lighthearted choices, Digital Bingo Cards which was equally successful, and When We See You Again polls, that invited guests to choose favorite resort activities which they plan on enjoying during their next visit to the resort. Hidden Emojis were also added to Instagram Stories and guests were asked to find them while maintaining contact with the brand. Engagement efforts were rewarded with photos shared by guests and were later used to fuel Instagram Stories while the team also expanded our social reach by joining Tik Tok to further share and engage with our audience.

Videos were another method used to entertain and engage with guests. One example is the Wine and Dine with Westgate video series which was created by bartenders from the resorts as they taught guests to make a version of their favorite cocktails and dishes at home. Videos with onsite Las Vegas entertainers were also posted across the social platforms as an alternative for guests unable to see the shows in person.

The team also launched a $60,000 Escape to Westgate contest across the social media spectrum of web, email, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The results were 1,078,500 entries, 108,350 game plays from 18,750 unique players, and priceless connections made with guests.

While many companies in the hospitality industry faltered, our social media campaign allowed the company to maintain awareness while increasing traffic and successfully engaging with owners despite the challenges. For its success with actively starting conversations online, pushing digital content, driving traffic to targeted websites, and creating a 1,276,274 total social footprint, we nominate Social Media Marketing Campaign.

– Target market: Westgate owners and guests
– Purpose (i.e. brand awareness, informational piece, etc.): To keep our brand top of mind and engage our audience after many of their reservations and travel plans had to be put on hold due to the pandemic.
– Total circulation: 1,338,282